Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

September 2017 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month but down from a year ago. Mortgage rates increased to 4.15 percent this September, up compared to 3.78 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in September moving the index down 5.4 percent from 169.8 to 160.7. The median sales price for a single family home sold in September in the US was $246,800 up 4.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 37 basis points from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) while median family incomes rose 3.1 percent.
  • Regionally, the Midwest recorded the biggest increase in price at 5.3 percent. The West had an increase of 5.2 percent while the South had a gain of 4.7 percent. The Northeast had the smallest incline in price of 4.4 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Midwest had the biggest decline of 7.1 percent. The West followed with a decline of 6.0 percent. The South had a decline of 5.9 while the Northeast had the smallest decline of 5.3 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in all four regions. The Northeast had the biggest incline of 5.0 percent followed by the West, which had an incline of 4.7 percent. The Midwest and the South both shared a rise in affordability of 3.6 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 197.7. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 115.0. For comparison, the index was 163.7 in the South, and 168.8 in the Northeast.
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  • Mortgage applications are currently unchanged. Home price growth is slowing while median family incomes are rising making home purchases more affordable for potential buyers. Job creation is improving in some markets and mortgage rates are still historically low.
  • What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.
  • The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.
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